Study Guide

Fuse Music

By Julianna Baggott


The Real Weapon

No, we're not referring to sound bombs or sonic booms. We're not even referring to a trained militia of opera singers than can shatter champagne glasses by hitting all the high notes. Instead, we're talking about the aww-inspiring power of song.

When it really comes down to it, music and singing are the real weapons in Fuse. Not machine guns. Not swords. Not explosives. Just plain old melodies.

And we're not even being cheesy and referring simply to the power that music has in bringing people together. Music in Fuse is a legitimate method of warfare— for example the Zombie-Dusts outside of Crazy John-John's amusement park aren't too fond of music:

The song is so worn out, it warbles […] The Dusts know this song […] this song means something awful to them. (47.34)

Though bullets couldn't stop the Dusts, the music did. (To be fair, we find carnival music pretty unsettling as well—this is probably the only common ground we have with the Dusts.)

Of course, music also used for preservation and sentimentality. Partridge keeps his mothers music box, and not only does he play the music box every night to feel more comfortable, but he also gives it to Lyda as a gift. And lullabies, even in a dystopic hellscape, prove comforting:

A song rises up from a man's throat, a lullaby […] The baby goes quiet. Music still works, music calms people. (1.3)

Don't worry: we're not going to end this analysis with a cornball statement about music equaling togetherness or even love. Nope: we're standing by our statement that music is still very much a weapon. By uniting people, music shows that there is something worth fighting for. It renews their strength, and strengthens their resolve. These lullabies and music box jingles may not be "Eye of The Tiger," but they are pumping up the "wretches" to fight the good fight.